- Ahold Delhaize has launched a "'90s throwback" marketing campaign at banner brands Giant Food and Stop & Shop, according to press materials.
- The campaign highlights classic favorites from the '90s and early aughts, divided into dayparts. For breakfast, there's Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal, Eggo Waffles and Pop-Tarts. Lunch offers Smucker’s Uncrustables, Totino’s Pizza Rolls and Lunchables, while dinner includes Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, McCain Smiles Crispy Mashed Potato Shapes and Stouffer's Lasagna. There are also snacks (Fruit Gushers, Chex Mix, Fruit Roll-Ups), desserts (Chips Ahoy!, Popsicle Firecracker Ice Pops, Pillsbury Confetti Funfetti Vanilla Flavored Frosting) and beverages (Kool-Aid Jammers, SunnyD, Capri Sun).
- The websites operated by Stop & Shop and Giant include new '90s throwback digital aisles where online shoppers can browse the decade's hallmark foods in one place and have “a little much-needed fun,” Dyani Hanrahan, Giant Food’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
Ahold Delhaize’s newest campaign is a glaring reminder that the '90s have been over for twenty years and taps into a marketing strategy other companies have also employed. Food conglomerate Kraft Heinz rebooted their classic Cheez Balls product in April, General Mills is selling Dunkaroos again, and in 2014, Coca-Cola brought back its soda Surge.
Revivals of vintage slogans, jingles and packaging are popular strategies, especially in turbulent times. During the 2008 financial crisis, for example, numerous brands tapped into a collective nostalgia for "warmer and fuzzier" times. Ahold Delhaize’s campaign announcements explicitly pointed to the anxiety-inducing and unsettling impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic as drawing consumers toward products from the '90s. Throwback marketing campaigns are also a popular tactic during economic downturns when marketing budgets have been cut — repackaging old, successful products requires much less investment than engineering entirely new branding.
The '90s, the last decade before the Internet fractured mass popular culture, offers a particularly strong sense of a shared past. Having occurred prior to the TV streaming takeover, many memories associated with food from that decade draw heavily from TV commercials, including the featured products in Ahold Delhaize’s new campaign.
Even Generation Z consumers who weren’t alive during the '90s are still a target audience for these campaigns. Nostalgia Instagram accounts are gaining popularity, and reboots of hit TV shows from the decade like "Full House" have drawn younger people to explore pop culture from the pre-social media era. Market researchers advise that brands not rely too heavily on cultural nostalgia exclusive to certain audiences, but to also draw upon cross-generational cultural references to connect with younger consumers.